SoCS – What Just Happened?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday has taken a twist this week. Linda suggests since this is the one year anniversary of living in a pandemic, we might want to write about how this year has been for us. Check out her blog if you want to join in – just check out the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

Here is what Linda had to say:

“Because this week is an anniversary–albeit a mostly miserable one–for most people around the world, I’d like to suggest something different for this week’s SoCS. You don’t have to do it. You can just choose one of the prompt words and run with it as you always do. I might do that myself. But I thought it would be interesting to see not just how everyone has coped, or not, over the last year, but to share our common experiences as a way to connect, to feel a little less alone, perhaps. Basically, talk about your last year is what I’m saying, whether stream-of-consciousness style or not. Or, if you’d rather not, talk about any time period your heart desires. Without further ado, here’s your prompt for this week:”

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “day/week/month/year.” Use one, use them all, use them any way you’d like. Enjoy!

Outdoor Fireplace

This photo was taken on March 12, 2020, out last night in the cabin. My daughter and I sat up on that big porch in Georgia watching the flames dance having no idea at all what was looming.

On March 13, 2020, exactly one year to the day, I hugged my daughter, my daughter-in-law, my granddaughter and my dear friend and co-grandmother for the last time. Now, one year later, we are all a little worse for the wear. In my extended family circle, there are two ongoing divorces, and of the three people who lost jobs, two are still unemployed.

There is good news, though. Yesterday, we received our second vaccination for the virus. In a matter of weeks now, we will be able to visit with some of our circle who are fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, there are some who are in the final priority which may mean July before they are fully vaccinated. Then we do not know if our vaccinations will still be effective.

A new world began to reveal itself our our respective returns home. One was flying as the airlines were hopping trying to deal with a virus they knew very little of. Our family returning to Florida was advised to buy toilet paper because there was none on the shelves at home. I drove the four hours home alone and stopped at a grocery store to pick up a muffin and some juice for breakfast. It was panic inside. I remember clearly a young mother stopping me in the aisle. She had six gallons of generic bleach in her cart. “Excuse me. Do you think this will kill the virus?” I tried to advise her about diluting the bleach but I do not think she heard me.

News feeds began to churn on the hour and it seems to have remained that way. It was a confusing time of feeling vulnerable and considering the prospect of dying alone. Those were dark days.

A few weeks passed and we decided to do remote pickup for our groceries. It was a mystery when time slots would open up and I discovered if I stayed up until 2:00 am, I could get a spot. We are still getting the majority of our groceries that way.

When the mask mandate happened, you could not find masks. My quilting friend in upstate New York made over 250 masks that she gave away and mailed free. I was able to send masks to our children and grandchildren because of her generosity.

Of course we also showed the worst of ourselves. People refused to wear masks and took it out of the store employees. That mentality seemed to have lingered as mistrust in science took hold.

We attended our grandson’s high school graduation via Facebook Live. I took two writing classes via Zoom. All of our grandchildren soon shifted to remote learning. All the concern about how much screen time was healthy for a child went out the window. They were now spending hours facing a computer screen while they tried to make sense of remote learning. They lost interest in Zooming with family and who can blame them. They were technologically saturated.

We have been fortunate. We know several people who contracted the virus and thankfully recovered. I know of three people who lost their lives to the virus. I still get overwhelmed just thinking about how many people lost their lives to the virus and how many people are suffering long-term consequences.

As the months have passed, the nuances of living ran together, much like the ink runs on paper when it gets wet. Life has been diluted. We have changed and all of us have been affected in some way. I had my first Covid dream the other night. I was in a grocery store for an hour when I realized I had forgotten my mask. I panicked. It woke me from a dead sleep.

I have been counting down the days until the official first day of spring. It’s only 7 days away now. It is symbolic to me. A time of renewal and the end of a hard, dark and trying winter.

I hold hope that people remain cautious and we truly turn a corner with the virus. It has been a long hard year. This community has kept me sane and I thank you.

Stay well, stay safe, and hold onto hope.


2020 Versus 536 AD – 111 Days Remain

Image by Ria Sopala from Pixabay

Today is September 11. I do not need to see the video replays to remember the horror of that day. I cannot imagine the horror the families of those lost must relive every day, let alone on this day. I pray no other people will ever need to suffer in this way again, but I know in my heart, there is so much evil in this world the probability of such suffering looms in the future.

I am normally a very positive person, but this year has done a number on me. It now takes work to remain upbeat. I do it by avoiding too much social media and news and by trying to focus on more positive things.

I was curious. What was the worst year in the history of mankind? It seems science has decided it was the year 536 AD.

It is estimated 50 million people worldwide died from the flu pandemic in 1918. As of this morning 914,537 people have died from Covid-19. Almost 3,000 lives were lost in the 9/11 attack. Numbers are so cold. These are real people with real families. All lost.

So what happened in 536 AD? Scientists now believe there was a devastating volcanic eruption in Iceland that shrouded much of the planet in darkness for 18 months. Temperatures dropped dramatically. Crops failed. People starved. Snow fell in summer. Famines and pandemics and more volcanic eruptions followed.

One of the things that has seen me through this crazy year has been my time outside in nature. Sure, I’ve complained about the rain and the heat and the humidity, but nature has always been right outside my door. All I ever need do is step into it. I cannot imagine 18 months without some sort of light flooding my surroundings from the heavens.

We are human, though, and we operate within our current frame of reference. California is experiencing the worst wildfires in its history. There is no daylight for much of the state now due to the smoke and haze from the fires. Environmental impacts and loss of life has been devastating this year.

Still, 2020 has not been the worst year in the history of mankind. Our presidential election looms in the future. Our citizens are still marching in the streets to shine a light on the abject racism so prevalent in our society.

So, it’s not the worst year ever, but let’s not tempt fate. I shudder to think of what could happen in the remaining 111 days.